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Republican pollster's advice to Bush

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  • Greg Cannon
    Here s a Republican pollster s advice on how Bush can turn around his sliding popularity. I wonder how much of it Bush might take. ...
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 29, 2005
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      Here's a Republican pollster's advice on how Bush can
      turn around his sliding popularity. I wonder how much
      of it Bush might take.

      --- "Larry J. Sabato" <goodpolitics@...>

      > Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2005 10:00:00 -0800
      > Subject: Sabato's Crystal Ball Vol. III, Iss. 20 -
      > Bush's Long Road Back
      > To: "greg" <gregcannon1@...>
      > From: "Larry J. Sabato" <goodpolitics@...>
      > Bush's Long Road Back
      > Changing Trends in Presidential Popularity
      > Larry J. Sabato
      > Director, U.Va. Center for Politics
      > Urgent MEMO to THE PRESIDENT
      > (Or, if he is unavailable: any ol' staffer, even the
      > Assistant Gofer to
      > the Under-Secretary to the Chief of Staff)
      > From: The Crystal Ball
      > Subject: How You Can Recover
      > Things are bad, Mr. President. Really bad. We can
      > tell you already know
      > that, since it is written all over your pained
      > expression when you appear
      > in public. Before the past few months, you haven't
      > had a time of Gallup
      > Poll testing like most of your predecessors. Because
      > of September 11th,
      > you spent most of the first term in Gallup's
      > stratosphere (the 60's and
      > 70's) and you never lost the half of the populace
      > that voted for you
      > twice. Now the delayed tumble has come with a
      > vengeance, and even parts of
      > your base have melted away, leaving you mired in the
      > mid- to upper-30's.
      > We'll keep the painful numbers section short, Mr.
      > President, because we
      > realize that the press corps reminds you of your
      > weakened position daily.
      > Yet we have to show you one graph that says it all,
      > a compilation of
      > Gallup ratings comparing you to your four immediate
      > two-term predecessors
      > (Ike, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton) from Year One through
      > Year Five:
      > (View chart here -
      > The lesson is obvious, Mr. President: You're a lot
      > closer to Nixon than
      > you are to Eisenhower, Reagan, and Clinton. And
      > that's not where you want
      > to be. Nixon's second term ended rather badly, as
      > you will recall.
      > Of course, only some isolated voices on the far left
      > are calling for your
      > impeachment or resignation. But let's think this
      > through. You've got 38
      > months still to serve as President--that's four
      > months longer than the
      > entire John F. Kennedy Presidency, as The Hotline
      > recently noted. You
      > don't want to endure years in the White House with
      > an unfriendly public.
      > It isn't good for you, and it's not good for the
      > country either. As you've
      > reminded us many times, we're at war with a group of
      > truly evil terrorists
      > who would gladly see us all dead. They are cheering
      > your bad fortune and
      > hoping you won't recover and can't lead.
      > You need to surprise them. And to do that, you need
      > to surprise your
      > critics by proving more flexible and inclusive than
      > we've ever seen you.
      > Are you up to the task? If you aren't, history will
      > almost certainly judge
      > you a failed President. So the stakes are as high as
      > they get for a Chief
      > Executive.
      > The good news is that you've got enough time and
      > ocean left to turn your
      > ship of state around, plus you have the benefit of
      > still-friendly GOP
      > majorities in both houses of Congress for at least
      > another year. The bad
      > news--there's always plenty of that--is that you
      > need to act relatively
      > quickly so that the big story of the New Year is
      > your comeback and not
      > your political demise. When people start watching
      > television again after
      > the holidays, you need to dominate January day after
      > day, and not limit
      > your effort to the State of the Union address. Oh,
      > and the bad news also
      > includes some wrenching policy decisions that you
      > won't want to make. Hey,
      > the Crystal Ball didn't promise you a Rose Garden,
      > beyond the gorgeous one
      > right outside your office! Here's the plan:
      > 1. Accept Political Reality on Iraq. The American
      > people have turned
      > against your war, and they're not turning back.
      > Congressman John Murtha's
      > revolt is just the latest sign. Iraq is an argument
      > you can no longer win.
      > Yes, the December elections there may give you a bit
      > of breathing space,
      > but your maneuvering room is permanently limited.
      > Whether you like it or
      > not, you will have to withdraw a substantial portion
      > of our troops before
      > the midterm elections in November 2006 or risk a
      > Democratic takeover of
      > Congress. (Think you're miserable now? Just wait
      > until the two dozen
      > legislative investigations start under Democratic
      > management!) You can
      > keep some American troops in Iraqi fallback
      > positions and in friendly
      > countries in the general neighborhood. That's it,
      > though, unless you want
      > to see your Presidency held hostage to a foreign
      > adventure the public
      > opposes. (See your fellow Texan, Johnson, Lyndon
      > Baines. And maybe Carter,
      > Jimmy for good measure.)
      > 2. Start Aggressive Credit-Taking for a Good
      > Economy. To judge by the
      > polls, the American public thinks we're on the verge
      > of another Great
      > Depression. High gas prices and home heating oil,
      > the Katrina bungling,
      > mass layoffs at GM and the sour mood caused by Iraq
      > explain some of this.
      > In fact, though, we're in a sweet spot---the
      > economy's not too cold and
      > not too hot, unemployment and inflation are low,
      > growth is solid despite
      > the hurricanes. Have you noticed that you're getting
      > no credit? You and
      > your staff are partly to blame. Please revisit the
      > Reagan and Clinton
      > years. Numbers 40 and 42 held a TV announcement or
      > gave a speech to boast
      > about every new positive statistic, and over time,
      > the message broke
      > through an unfriendly press to affect public opinion
      > in the President's
      > favor. You act as though Americans will notice good
      > times on their own and
      > give you the kudos. Get real. Start a debate with
      > your adversaries about
      > the economy. Unlike Iraq, it's an argument you can
      > win.
      > 3. Retool, retool, retool. Your Social Security
      > reform is dead. Your
      > immigration reform is dead. Your tax proposals are
      > comatose, and the
      > undertaker is on standby. Here's the unpleasant
      > truth: The creative period
      > of your Presidency is over. You're not going to
      > remake anything much in
      > the remaining years of your term because the public
      > is unwilling and the
      > treasury is empty. You need to move from policy
      > innovation to
      > consolidation. Drop the lead weights of proposals
      > that will never see the
      > light of day, don't come up with any more (no Mars
      > missions), and focus
      > your Presidency on the two great tasks for which
      > history could remember
      > you: fighting terrorism and rebuilding the Gulf
      > Coast. Leading and
      > managing those two great causes can productively
      > fill your days and give
      > your administration the ennobling purpose that has
      > left it. And those two
      > goals are enough for any ambitious President.
      > Especially for a
      > conservative President, less is more!
      > 4. Re-Staff, Re-Staff, Re-Staff. We're sorry if no
      > one has told you, Mr.
      > President, but parts of your staff are burned out,
      > controversial, and
      > increasingly mired in scandal(s). Every
      > President--just like every Major
      > League team owner--needs to refresh his roster from
      > time to time with new,
      > able people. You are overdue for this, and it is the
      > easiest of all the
      > tasks we've mentioned.
      > 5. Admit One Big Error and Correct It. We've put
      > this last, in case you
      > grow angry at the suggestion and stop reading.
      > (We've heard you've got a
      > heck of a temper!) Everyone knows you are stubborn
      > and loath to
      > acknowledge any mistake--in part because your many
      > enemies would never let
      > you forget it. We know you'll never admit any error
      > on Iraq, and there's
      > no chance you'll change course on the tax cuts. So
      > let's choose something
      > that even your strongest supporters in Congress
      > deeply regret: the
      > Medicare drug benefit. Do you know how many
      > Republican Senators and
      > Representatives have said privately that it is the
      > worst, most regrettable
      > vote of their careers? The drug benefit will add
      > trillions to the national
      > debt over time; because of its complexity, it is
      > overwhelmingly disliked
      > by the very seniors it is designed to help; and like
      > most government
      > programs, it is guaranteed to become massively more
      > unwieldy and costly in
      > the future, as new provisions and baubles are added
      > on. Eliminate it, or
      > at the very least, cut it way back by limiting it to
      > the poor. Your
      > gigantic, additional Medicare entitlement underlines
      > the Bush
      > Administration's reckless overspending. The ocean of
      > red ink you have
      > created will be an enormous black, er, red mark on
      > your legacy in the
      > history books. Why not do something about it while
      > you still can? All at
      > once, you can please your party, make better policy,
      > and change your image
      > by confessing a big goof. People will be amazed at
      > your display of
      > humility. Sometimes, the best politics is
      > counterintuitive.
      > Mr. President, you know instinctively that the times
      > are too partisan, and
      > you have burned too many bridges, to regain the
      > backing of Democratic
      > voters. Count on 90-95 percent of them being opposed
      > to you all the way to
      > January 20, 2009. However, you can recapture many of
      > the Republicans and
      > Independents who have left your side. (Right now,
      > you're losing about 15
      > percent of GOP voters and close to two-thirds of the
      > Independents.)
      > Realistically, while you probably will never again
      > see a 60 percent
      > approval rating in the Gallup Poll, you can slowly
      > climb back over 50
      > percent. It's going to take a lot of hard work and
      > day-to-day incremental
      > progress. But the only alternative to this kind of
      > Purgatory is a
      > three-year-long Hades of deep unpopularity and the
      > inability to lead. It's
      > a White House prison term that neither you nor the
      > country wants to see.
      > Good luck!
      > 8th Annual American Democracy Conference Opens
      > Thursday, December 1
      > Quench your thirst for perspicacious political
      > ponderings and predictions
      > by attending the 8th Annual American Democracy
      > Conference, presented by by
      > the University of Virginia Center for Politics and
      > National Journal's The
      > Hotline. This year's conference, entitled Setting
      > the Table: The 2005 Off
      > Year Elections and the 2006 Midterm Elections,
      > brings together leading
      > journalists, academics and Beltway insiders to
      > examine the current
      > political landscape. The event is free and open to
      > the public with advance
      > registration, and it will be held at the Hotel
      > Washington on Thursday,
      > December 1, 2005 in Washington, DC.
      > Click here to register online or for more
      > information
      > (http://www.centerforpolitics.org/programs/adc/)
      > Hotel Washington
      > 515 15th St., NW, Washington, DC
      > Thursday, Dec. 1, 2005
      > 9:00am - 1:15pm
      > American Democracy Conference 2005 Agenda
      > 8:00-9:00am Continental Breakfast
      > 9:00-10:15am Panel Discussion I: The Declining Bush
      > Mandate
      > Moderator: Larry J. Sabato, Center for Politics
      > Panelists: Fred Barnes, Fox News
      > Carl Cannon, National Journal
      > Rosiland Jordan, NBC News
      > Susan Page, USA Today
      > 10:30-11:45am Panel Discussion II: The 2006 Midterms
      > Moderator: John Mercurio, The Hotline
      > Panelists: Chris LaCivita, LaCivita Consulting
      > John Lapp, DCCC
      > Ed Patru, NRCC
      > J.B. Poersch, DSCC
      > 12:00-1:15pm Panel Discussion III: Seeing Red:
      > What's Next for the
      > Republicans?
      > Moderator: Chuck Todd, The Hotline
      > Panelists: John Brabender, BrabenderCox
      > Kellyanne Conway, the polling
      > company, inc.
      > Tony Fabrizio, Fabrizio, McLaughlin
      > & Associates
      > Craig Shirley, Shirley & Banister
      > Public Affairs
      > Click here to register online or for more
      > information. Please check our
      > website at www.centerforpolitics.org for panel
      > updates.
      > Questions? Please contact Holly Hatcher at
      > cfpevents@... or
      > 434-243-3539.
      > NOW AVAILABLE - Divided States of America: The Slash
      > and Burn Politics of
      > the 2004 Presidential Election
      > A follow-up to his best-selling Get in the Booth! A
      > Citizen's Guide to the
      > 2004 Election, this new book looks back at the 2004
      > campaigns and election
      > and offers fresh analyses and trenchant commentary
      > by Larry J. Sabato and
      > a team of top election scholars and journalists. An
      > invaluable resource
      > for anyone already looking ahead to the elections of
      > 2006 and 2008,
      > Divided States of America breaks down the 2004 races
      > and provides a
      > jumping off point for future contests.
      > The latest publication from Larry J. Sabato and the
      > University of Virginia
      > Center for Politics offers exciting commentaries and
      > analyses on the
      > divisive 2004 election from the scholars and
      > journalists who were closest
      > to it. From the rise and fall of Howard Dean to the
      > "Bush Mandate," and
      > from the impact of campaign finance laws to the role
      > of religion, this
      > book offers insights on an array of the most
      > significant events and issues
      > that dominated the most intense and important
      > election in recent memory.
      > "Want to know why Bush won and Kerry lost in 2004?
      > Then read Larry
      > Sabato's book. It's the best analysis of that bitter
      > election in print."
      > -Bill O'Reilly, Anchor - Fox News Channel
      > "At Little Bighorn, General Custer was heard to say,
      > 'Where did all those
      > Indians come from?' On Election Night 2004 I asked,
      > 'Where did all those
      > Republicans come from?' Larry Sabato has collected
      > some of the smartest
      > observers of the scene to give us the answer. This
      > book tells us the what,
      > why, where and how of one of the most consequential
      > elections of our
      > time."
      > -Paul Begala, Political Analyst - CNN
      > For more information, visit
      > http://www.centerforpolitics.org/pubs/books.htm
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      > Read the fine print
      > The brainchild of University of Virginia Center for
      > Politics director
      > Larry Sabato, the Crystal Ball is a comprehensive,
      > innovative election
      > guide featuring hard-hitting, "tell it like it is"
      > analysis of races
      > across the country. As a professor, author, and
      > political analyst, Dr.
      > Sabato draws on over 30 years of experience in
      > monitoring national
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      > engaging election
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      > for journalists,
      > students, and political junkies alike, providing the
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      > Use caution with Sabato's Crystal Ball, and
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      > of Virginia Center for
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